Concert brings very busy Laura Bell Bundy back home to Lexington

rcopley@herald-leader.comApril 24, 2014 

During Laura Bell Bundy's more-than-two-decade career in show business, we have never quite known where she would pop up next.

Bundy started her career onstage, creating the role of a child star from hell in the off-Broadway hit Ruthless in 1992. Then she turned to film in movies such as The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993) and Jumanji (1995), and made appearances on TV shows including Home Improvement.

While pursuing a Broadway career that eventually landed her the lead in Legally Blonde: The Musical, Bundy also was working in country music.

At the moment, the Tony Award-nominated Lexingtonian is best known as a two-timing TV star, playing opposite Charlie Sheen on the FX sitcom Anger Management and as Shelby on The CW's Hart of Dixie.

But it's Bundy's music career that brings her back home Friday to play a bill with another burgeoning Lexington act, Sundy Best, to close out Keeneland's spring meet and benefit the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center.

"It's amazing when your grade-school friends call you and say, 'Hey, let's work together on something,'" Bundy, 33, says of the concert organizers. "Playing Keeneland is going to be a hoot, since I've been going there since I could breathe."

It's a safe bet some people at the show will have seen Bundy on television Thursday night playing sex therapist Jordan, a partner in the practice run by Sheen's character. Taking on the part last year paired Bundy with one of Hollywood's most notorious actors in recent memory, as Sheen lost his part on CBS's wildly successful Two and a Half Men after a public meltdown that turned "tiger blood" and "winning!" into pop culture catchphrases. On top of that, she was stepping in for actress Selma Blair, who left Anger Management after publicly criticizing Sheen.

"I love working with Charlie," Bundy says. "A lot of people only know the side of Charlie you see on TMZ or in the tabloids ... because that's what people are interested in.

"What they don't hear is that Charlie is an excellent comedian, Charlie memorizes his lines quicker than anyone I know, he's professional when he shows up, is generous to his co-stars, flies his co-star home to see her grandfather when her grandfather is sick. He did that for me.

"What I respect about him is he's the most honest person I have worked with, to a fault. But I respect that because you know where you stand with the guy. There's no question."

When she got the Anger Management role, it appeared she might have to drop her supporting gig on Hart of Dixie, a comedy-drama about a New York doctor played by Rachel Bilson starting a practice in a small, Gulf Coast town. But Bundy has kept both jobs and says she likes being on both shows because they are different and demand different skills. Bundy's mother, Lorna Bundy-Jones, says it was jarring to see her daughter appearing pregnant on Hart of Dixie, though Bundy says, "I thought she'd say she found it jarring seeing someone playing her."

When Bundy first read the part of Shelby, she saw her mother in the character and decided to go with that. Said Bundy, "She comes on like a tornado, and my mom comes on like a tornado, in the most delightful way."

With all her endeavors, Bundy's career can seem like a tornado. She has been releasing a steady stream of singles, including the popular Kentucky Dirty, and will release an album on Big Machine Records on July 14 on iTunes and elsewhere July 21.

"What motivates me is having fun and being creative," Bundy says. "And that's exactly what I'm doing: I'm having fun, I'm being creative. I'm living for the moment and learning from my experiences, and that's what makes me happy."

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog: copiousnotes.bloginky.com.

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